“Since many students are in my class multiple times,” writes ELL teacher Wendi Pillars, “I’m always seeking new topics to tie literacy skills together.” This year one theme was “Zero Hunger” through sustainable agriculture. A perfect hook for a unit on eating insects.
Fads are an integral part of the adolescent social fabric. Middle schoolers “embrace each passing fancy with a zeal we wish they brought to their school work,” writes Laurie Lichtenstein, leaving teachers at their mercy. Unless, of course, you turn the table.
Rigor is more than what you teach. It’s how you teach and how students show you they understand. After dispelling widely held myths about rigor in the classroom, author Barbara Blackburn describes a standards-friendly environment that supports rigorous learning and student success.
Middle school behavior has more to do with neurotransmitters than hormones, says veteran teacher and consultant Thomas Armstrong. His strategies will help educators reach adolescents through both their “emotional brain’’ and the still undeveloped ‘’rational brain.’’
Many students over-annotate text to the point where they are noticing everything but not determining what’s MOST important. Literacy expert Sarah Tantillo shares tested strategies to help students detect “the purpose of reading,” including her What’s Important Organizer.
Integrating performance-boosting Social Emotional Learning requires educators to broaden school goals beyond pure academics. Debbie Silver shares four tips for teaching “Thrive” skills that lay the foundation for healthy, centered, and successful young adults.
Resilience is the ability to effectively handle pressure and to overcome failure. It’s a characteristic that many of our struggling students do not bring to the classroom, yet it is one that we can teach. Barbara Blackburn shares five strategies that can help.
When spring fever rises and summer still seems far away, newbie and veteran teachers alike may feel they’re losing their focus and their students are drifting. Check out Elyse Scott’s five regrouping and re-energizing strategies and “do what’s right for the kids.”
Using observer-centered Instructional Rounds, teachers at Mrachek Middle School in Aurora CO are focused on finding the personalized methods to engage every student equitably and effectively. After two years, the effort is producing solid results and some epiphanies.
If bibliotherapy is an effective way to ease the growing pains of adolescents, writes 7th grade teacher Laurie Lichtenstein, The Outsiders is “the gold standard of therapy in middle grades literature.” It’s the only whole class novel she teaches each year.